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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!

I was wrapping presents and thinking of each of you. Is peace and joy flowing through your home? Not so much? Us either. But it is not what it was last year. There has been growth. She has enjoyed almost every night of advent with us this month! Wow! But the wounds are deep still and the rages seem louder the last few days. Although I do not think all triggers are holidays or big events or that all kids that are spiraling are doing so because of Christmas, I do think the added commotion and lack of schedule and anticipation do compound the wounds are their hearts..... or maybe we are more distracted and less therapeutic? I know for me it is hard to say no to all of the little things I think will add to their experience of the season. I think there can be deep moments and traditions that let the chaos the world tempts us with settle beyond the doorstep. I am striving more this year than last to seek out those moments. Warm cocoa, family quilts, books, soft lights of the tree, cookies baking, candles burning. Simple joys to bring simple peace. And let us--and I speak more to myself than anyone-- seek it in our own hearts. Take the time for stillness. For your own quiet. Take our own warm happiness in your favorite mug by the tree. Reflect. Imbibe. He is good. He loves you, His daughter. He is working out these hurts though it may not always feel that way. He knows the work, the stress, the anguish, the deep valley you feel you are in. He knows. He loves. I cannot see that Babe in a manger without remembering the sacrifice and purpose for which He came. What a great reminder to my soul that He created my child on purpose for a purpose and wants me to help Him love her soul for that great purpose. To Christ alone be the glory! Forever and ever. Merry CHRISTmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ideas for the Home-Educator and others :)

Trying to home-educate all the kiddos in your home....while one of them in particular (or more than one in some cases)tries their hardest to make life all about them all the time?

Here are a few ideas/tools we have used in our home over the years:



Buy your child an ipod and let him/her listen to music of your choice. Good stuff.

Give her crayons...colored pencils and markers w/a sketch pad. Design for her a still life set up and instructions that she is to create her version of that scene.

Place her in a spot where you can see her and she can see you.

Call it "Independent Music & Art Study."

Focus on the other kids. Get done what you need to get done.

If you are not done w/ what you need to get done and she is done w/her still life...hand her a pair of scissors and a stack of scrap paper. Instruct her to cut 25circles....25squares...25 rectangles 25 triangles etc.

Call it "Math."

If you are not done w/what you need to get done...instruct her to color the shapes...circles red...rectangles yellow etc. Have her paste them onto a poster board in patterns w/a glue stick. Make sure she is not eating the glue stick :)

Call it "Cross Curriculum Math/Art Activity."

Should get you through a morning.

_____________________

Try puzzles and tannegrams. They require focus and help w/logical thinking...planning...cause and effect thinking.

W/the ipod...of course.

Let her chew gum (sugarless.) In fact...buy packs and packs of gum and let your child be in charge of how much she is chewing (especially as she matures.)

She will feel very powerful..."and have no idea that you are pulling an idea from your therapeutic toolbox.

When she completes a puzzle or successfully works a tannegram sheet...take a photo of it and make a book of the images....so she doesn't carry a wound when her attempts are dismantled and put away.

Hook rugs...needle point...cross stitch etc. Good for concentration and fine motor too.

Knitting...chrocheting...lacing toys for younger ones.

I like Dover coloring books because they require concentration.

http://store.doverpublications.com/

Also, you could put on a ballet or exercise dvd and have her "take a class" in the living room.

Trampoline first thing.

Jump rope first thing.

Swing first thing. (Do lessons at the park...take frequent swing breaks.)

A few laps around the cul-de-sac first thing.

Swimming laps first thing.

______________________

I'm searching my mind for what else we have done...

Rubik's Cubes are good and those old fashioned math squares...where you have to move the #'s around 1-10...to get them in order. Geoboards and rubber band balls are good things to have lying around. You could keep them all in one place...like in a plastic shoe box.

Bead work is good.

I guess the point is to try and get her interested in something and focused before downward spirals begin.

Things sure seem to go downhill once the spiral ignites.

Easier said than done, I know.

And, many times...impossible.

Burn candles (we have them going almost all the time) to facilitate a calming effect. If it doesn't calm your child...it may calm you :)

Please add to the list any ideas which work for you and your family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Find My Family

Anybody else dreading this ABC show? Even the commercials....we find ourselves trying to avoid.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grief

* Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
* Anger (why is this happening to me?)
* Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
* Depression (I don't care anymore)
* Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)


Above, is a list of the widely accepted stages of grief as defined by Elizabeth Kubler- Ross.



Dr. Roberta Temes goes on to describe three types of behavior recognizable in those who are dealing with grief and loss.

* Numbness (mechanical functioning and social insulation)
* Disorganization (intensely painful feelings of loss)
* Reorganization (re-entry into a more 'normal' social life.)


Where do our kids currently find themselves on the spectrum?

Where do we currently find ourselves?

Has there been growth?

Has there been healing?

Be encouraged.

Get A Life

That sounds rude, doesn't it? I mean it in the best most kindest, most sisterly-motherly -girlfriendily....most encouraging way possible.

Dealing with attachment (whatever stage we're in...however far along we've come or not come)...can be all consuming. It can occupy our every waking moment. Our every thought. Our every decision.

I know how tempting it is to make all of life be all about this one thing.

Do not allow yourself to do it.

Get a hobby. Pick up an interest. Paint, sew, cook, exercise, read, work with yarn, work with beads, study, sing, dance, rent some films, travel, snap photos, blog about other things...our choices are endless.

But....without doubt.... we must choose to remove attachment work from the high and almighty royal throne on which it sometimes likes to plop it's I reign above all things stinkin' fat ass.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

PTSD

It is often said all kids with attachment issues have PTSD, but not all kids with PTSD have attachment disorders. We have a RADish. She is textbook. But we also have another daughter that came home through adoption who does not seem to struggle with attachment. What she does seem to show are signs of PTSD. Most of the time, she is happy, joyful, obedient. But then.... something triggers her little heart and wham! She spirals into lock-down mode. Interesting observations:

~she will not cry. she will yell and scream. but she won't cry.
~all instruction and discipline is completely ineffective and escalates the situation. *when not in this place, she responds "typically"
~accidents. floors. beds. awake & asleep
~does not sleep well or for long
~triggers are impossible to ID

Doing lots and lots of research over here. Maybe you are seeing some challenging behaviors but don't feel like it is RAD. Maybe you are dealing with PTSD. It is very hard to ID in kiddos especially if the loss was pre-verbal. Here are some websites that may be helpful. But as with anything, don't wait until you want to quit to get help. Just got Krill's book in the mail. It is the first book I found addressing this in kiddos. I'll let you know how it is when I get through it. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kid's Prayer Request

I have been angry with God. I have used his name in vain and I have mocked Him. I admit it was totally a bad example and not only that but it was also wrong. I was worried that He wouldn't forgive me for that, but my Mom explained that my version of God is obviously little. It hit me as true. I was making up a little God when the real God is so big. I am writing about this because I am a Christian who needs prayer about the Lord having Lordship over me. My understanding of the Lord is that he is a Saviour but I don't know if I understand the true meaning of Lordship. I have been angry with God for the last 10 years. I've been processing my history in a negative way instead of a positive way. I have been dwelling on the negatives and that has made me bitter. It is hard to allow the Lord to have Lordship over me when I haven't been trusting Him. I've realized that I haven't allowed Him to work through me. The bottom line is that I need to let the Lord renew my mind. Specifically, I need prayer for allowing myself to trust.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Art Imitating Life



Can anyone else relate?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lord, Come Quickly!

I am absolutely convinced more than ever that the living Lord of the universe must interrupt hearts for true healing to take place. It is our job as parents to prepare the soil. To plant seeds. To water. To nurture. To prune.

Oh, that we would each be given a glimpse this week of what is possible....so that we would not be tempted to faint.

Lord, please reveal Yourself amidst our struggles.

Thank You..... for how You have and are revealing Yourself already.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

RAD Fear

After speaking with a sweet, sweet friend yesterday (with her brand spankin' newborn son)  during a zoo field trip...I cannot get the message of this post out of my mind.

Here it is....

Many in the adoption world are living in fear of RAD.

Hear me again....

Many in the adoption world are living in fear of RAD.

Stop this immediately.

Stop this fear based existence.  

Your adopted child may never develop symptoms of RAD. The stress of living with messed up parents...anticipating RAD symptoms to pop up at every turn will throw everyone in the house for all sorts of crazy loops.

If your child does show signs of attachment struggles....move forward accordingly.

Take reasonable precautions, of course.

Know the warning signs.

Be intentional, always.

I've been around the block long enough to see some pitfalls that we all can easily slip in to when operating out of a fearful place.

Control Issues
Isolation
Shame
Anxiety
Distrust
Depression
Exasperation
Hopelessness
Manipulation
Sarcasm
Wall building
Regret
Self Protection
Anger
Confusion
Hostility
Denial
Apathy
Resentment
Bitterness 
Withdrawal
Lack of Joy

Parenting a child with attachment challenges is quite unlike what most of us are accustomed to or prepared for...while being very much like parenting a child without them at the very same time. Huh?????????? Does that even make sense? Know yourself...good & bad. Know your kids...good & bad. Test new things...try and try again...and never give up.

I am a hippie type. Therefore, it was perfectly natural for me to co-bath (younger years) and co-sleep w/my kids. All of my kids. Bio kids...and adopted kids. It is not something I researched and planned...or checked off on a To Do List. It was not scheduled. For me...it has always been organic...what feels appropriate and good. Comfortable. Correct. Have I had to be more intentional with Girlie than with the others? Yes, of course. But I have been myself with her. She has gotten Me.

Here's the good news. She knows me. The REAL me. The authentic me. Not the me I am trying to be.

The advice I gave to my sweet, exhausted, fearful friend....for whatever it's worth....

.....be the parent you are created to be. If the need arises...be that sort of parent in the Struggling To Attach World. 

It's like being you on steroids. 

Superpower You.

Here's the hard part. We can say with our mouths that we trust the Lord and that we are not operating out of a place of fear. But our actions betray us.



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Food Lover

Cate's latest post rings so true.

Early on, we got the fact that it is important to find all sorts of intentional ways to communicate to our kids that as parents, we will bend over backwards to meet their needs and even go the extra mile to meet some of their desires. One of the ways we do this in our home is by having a fully stocked pantry. There is a pasta and sauce variety shelf. A canned veggie and beans shelf. A cereal shelf. A snack shelf...etc. When I get down to two or three cans of green beans....I make sure to throw a few more into the grocery cart. Lots of black beans in there now...and for some reason....we have more than enough saurkraut. Must've been that sale :)

I really do think that the day in and day out visual of seeing plenty of food items nearby communicates stability, protection (especially if there is malnutrition in your child's history,) and provision to our Girlies.... (all the kiddos in fact.)

Some kids come home with food issues. Some kids develop food issues. Manykids are just plain old hungrier than other kids...or not quite as hungry as some. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in how to best deal with your children.

On the flip side...most likely, we have all been exposed to parents with food issues (not really the issue.)

If you are a parent who finds yourself controlling your children with food....repent. For it is just that....a control issue.

I am a lover of food so naturally...I find myself loving through food.

Find what you are a lover of....and use it to show love to those around you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Anytime Bowl



Some of our kiddos have food issues. Most of the attachment books will say to let them have non perishable snacks in their pockets or bedside table. I know that works for some families and that is great. But something didn't seem right to my heart about that for us. For one, my girlie wasn't trying to hoard. But she was gorging at meal times. She was actually eating more than my husband. Our pediatrician isn't too worried about it as long as we let her gorge on fruits and veggies. :)

At the heart of it, though, is trust. Not trusting your parent to meet your needs, not trusting your self and sensing your own needs, trusting to communicate those needs. I wanted my baby's needs to be met but I don't always know when she has a need because she doesn't tell me. I also wanted a way to help build that trust between us. The jump from having food available to knowing Mommy was going to meet her hunger seemed too great or would take too long for my little one.

So we created the Anytime Bowl. Here's how it works. A big bowl of fruit (types change every week depending on the season) is on our kitchen counter. We told the kids, "this is the Anytime Bowl. Anytime you are hungry, you can ask for something out of the Anytime Bowl. Anytime you ask, Mommy and Daddy will say YES! Every time! If we just ate breakfast, but you are still hungry, you can ask. If it is dark out and you are hungry, you can ask. If you are sleeping and your are hungry, you can ask. Anytime." Only some of our kids use it regularly but they are starting to get the hang of it. We remind them of it almost every day. Part of that is probably because their needs are met by their regular meals. We feed them their scheduled snacks and meals but no more than 2nds. We can still meet their needs then if they arise but also know they aren't super hungry. They need to trust us to get a piece of fruit but they also know they won't be rejected.
:)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Playdate

Contact us if you'd like to join us for a Phoenix area playdate next week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

RAD in the news

Click PAUSE on the Music Player first.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Love


Sent in by a reader.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Blog Love


So I get this e-mail from a friend of mine....completely unrelated to the RAD world. She says is (click here) ...this... you????????????

"Yes" it is! Nice surprise.

I'm posting the 7 Things About Me...firstly because I was asked...and secondly , I think it's very good to remind ourselves and encourage others to remind themselves that life is not all about RAD all the time.

1. I am a photographer.
2. I home-educate. Teaching IEW this year among other things.
3. I do not have a belly button.
4. I love film. Went to USC Film School. Trying to produce a film as we speak.
5. I enjoy crocheting and bead work.
6. My favorite books are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn & Stepping Heavenward.
7. I love travel and the Food Network.
8. I'm not sure the Lord's finished expanding our family.

Update:
(I just realized that I posted 8 things. I have no idea why I did that????????) Exhaustion??????

Thank you, Beckyjoie for the compliment and the encouragement.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Promise Land

For many adoptive parents, the long wait during the adoption process or even just the longing to grow your family has felt like the desert wanderings of the Israelites. You have survived this torturous season. You have trusted Christ for your daily sustenance. You have hoped with joy at what lies ahead. You have followed Him to this child. To bring home your pined for child seems about to cross the Jordan. Soon you will be together forever and the time as a family will be rich and fruitful and yummy. But and a major but to possess the promise land with a RADish takes work. There will be battles. Lots of them. You will have to fight for the regulated and joy filled home. It will seem impossible. The temptation is to be grumbling like the Israelites. It was better before this all began. The wait was easier than the adoption itself. At least I was familiar with pining. It had become comfortable. What was I hoping for? God has led us all this way to now let us fumble, fear and faint with this child. But we must be like Joshua, beloved. We must see the possibilities for our child and for our family. We must be willing to enter into the wars and impossible circumstances. There is hope. We have promises. He will not leave us. He will go before us. He will give us strength for each battle and a way out of every temptation. The possibility of milk and honey so far exceeds the sand of the desert. For your child. For your family. For you. Press in.



~thoughts and reflections after reading Number 16

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 Positives

Recently I was asked to describe my kids by someone who doesn't know them. She said, "you know. what are their personalities like, what are their interests. you know." I honestly sat there dumbfounded for a good 30 seconds. I started to talk about my other kids while I was frantically multi-tasking in my brain to think of things for my RADish. Things flooding to my brain were.... well, like... she likes to manipulate people....or have total freak outs during lessons.... or fake laugh with strangers. Honestly. I know here that doesn't seem crazy but in other circles....like with this lady I don't know well, those were so far from appropriate answers. I wouldn't talk about those things with her for one but also because somehow it seemed incomplete. It had been a hard few weeks. Really hard. Like every inch of my body was feeling her emotional pain hard. I was exhausted. Her choices flooded my days and absorbed my nights. Fortunately, I could see that even having those thoughts did not reflect my desire to pursue my child's heart. I realized in that moment how focused on the behavior I had become that week. I had given the sin too much power in our home. This is a child--my child--that I am fighting for not just behaviors and a will I am trying to curb. But those were thoughts to be mulled over later. I had to give this woman an answer. I began listing a two things my lovey is naturally good at and changed the subject.

As I thought later about all of this, I sat quietly with the Lord. I repented of the ways I had not seen my child this week and for the distraction I had allowed sin to become. Then I listed 10 things that she was good at or growing in or had at one time made me smile over. It wasn't easy. The days have been hard. She seems to be in a horrible mood from the moment she wakes up til the moment she finally falls asleep. She doesn't seem to think about anything fun or happy. I need to help ID those things for her, though, and help her work towards honing those skills in her regulated times instead of her survival skills. So do it. As a part of I Thessalonians 5:18. When there are no warm fuzzy or easy days, choosing thankfulness and the child's heart and God's sovereignty refocuses our minds. 10 things you can thank God for in your child. Share in our comments if you feel led to help get other parents thinking and to delight in the child God has given you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big Feelings

Big big big feelings over here.

Friends of ours adopted a baby (at day one). Mom lost a son a few months ago and has continued to pump her breast milk sacrificially and faithfully. She is now able to nurse her adopted newborn.

Girlie is watching closely....this entire story unfold.

She asked me recently if she could sue Russia. For the lack of care she received as a young child.

The good news....she expressed her anger, frustration, and disappointment in a healthy way.

She trusted me.

____________________

She was "off" in the beginning of the week. I couldn't put my finger on it. Finally, she was asked to spend some quite time...pondering deeply her "obvious off-ness." She wasn't to rejoin the family until she could articulate the issue buried below the surface.

Within 10 minutes she was standing before me with a quivering lip. She wanted to know if I thought she had cancer.

?????????????

Two days prior we had been at the dermatologist and she had seen a Cancer Warning Signs poster on the wall....complete w/photos.

It is a dry patch.

The good news is....she was able to identify her fear...articulate it(rather quickly) and trust me.

__________________________

A friend of ours has a son who is having unexplained seizures. Last week he was unconscious for 6 minutes and we were all worried.

Again...two days later...Girlie asks how our loved one is? I tell her he's seeing a specialist and that he is fine right now.

Her response...."cause if he died we'd be going to a funeral, right?"

I asked her if she thought that if he had died that maybe possibly I might be crying and sharing the news w/the rest of the family and crying and mourning and talking about it..... and crying????????

"I was just checking," was her response...... (then)...... "Of course you would be crying....What was I thinking?"

The good news.....she got around to speaking her fear out loud. She trusted me.


____________________________

Towards the end of the week...Girlie was "off" again. Couldn't quite put my finger on it.

She was asked to go think about her 'off-ness" and not return until she had it all figured out.

About 10 minutes later she is standing before me...lip quivering again.

It seems she had had a sore throat for two days but didn't want to tell me because she thought it might go away on it's own.

The good news....she was able to articulate her fear (rather quickly.) She trusted me.

I explained that I would rather know about sore throats when they first appear because we are a family who shares straws. She acknowledged that that made more sense and promised to do so in the future.

I gave her medicine.
_____________________________

All this rising to the surface in one week's time.


Big big big feelings over here.


P.S. Also had to ask for a larger cup bra. Big time trust.

Just remembered.....my hubbie and I are traveling. Alone. Our first real vacation alone during our 19 years of marriage. We are the kind of people who like to take our kids everywhere with us. It's killing us not to bring them...but it's Italy and its's waaaaaaay too expensive to get 7 people there...and it's sorta a combined work/pleasure trip. I'm shooting a wedding :)

Anyways.....back to Girlie.

She whispered in my ear the other nite while I was tickling her back (which she loves and asks for)...."do you think my RAD will come back when you are away?"

"No. Never"....I reassured her.

LOL! Things have for sure improved GREATLY around here over time (slow and steady wins the race) but does she think her RAD is gone?????????

Isn't it absolutely amazing how the Lord works through the circumstances of our lives?

Every step along the Sanctification Road leads us Home. Even the baby steps.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Love in Rocky Places


On a recent walk...we collected a pile of quartz. Wasn't expecting to find a little lovin'...but nevertheless...there it was.

Look for love in the unlikeliest of places.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

you are NOT alone

This goes out specifically to my "new phone friend." Anytime.

.....Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Amen.

Matthew 28:20

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eye Contact

Across the board, eye contact--or the lack thereof---is always an issue for our kiddos. It is just too intimate. My little one will look anywhere except my eyes. Eyebrows, nose, cheeks, ears..... sometimes it seems to be in my eyes but there is a glaze. It is like she is unfocusing her eyes to not have to be in the moment with me.

I have started doing something a little odd. Bu hey, you have to get creative with these kids!! So I thought I would share it with you in the off chance it might help someone out there. When she is looking in my eyes, or saying she is, I move ever so slightly from the left and right. If her eyes track with mine, I know she is not glazing over. Once I know we have eye contact, we can address intimately the challenge, need, pain or lesson before us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009





spoiled strawberry heart

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Phileo 2

Cate's last post is crucial...in my humble opinion.

An absolutely crucial concept for Christ following parents of kids struggling w/attachment to acknowledge (if present), grasp, and pursue resolution to.

I will never forget the moment of clarity...years into our struggle.... when I realized that what was missing on my end wasn't an agape love....but a (click here)PHILEO love.

That natural affinity towards another person. That "brotherly" love which so often comes organically....and ever so naturally.

It's not that it had never existed.

It was there. For sure. But it had retreated ...hidden itself behind protective walls after being mocked, torn down...spit on...kicked...taken advantage of and abused. Feelings of phileo love had disappeared.

(It was very similar to a dark and troubled time in our marriage when it was as if all hints of phileo love and eros love had vanished into thin air.)

On Girlie's end...both types of love...phileo and agape were missing.

Girlie might've.... possibly.... had a phileo love for me/us...but it was was not manifested, communicated or received as such.

Agape love on her part?????? No Holy Spirit...so no possibility of it's authentic existence.

Yes.... Lord, grant us phileo love when our hearts fail us....all the while supplying us with a never ending overflowing fountain of agape love.

It is our desire that we would love our sons and daughters...those you have entrusted into our care...as You would have us love them. Help us to be good stewards of these good and precious gifts You have given.

Phileo Love

Lord of miracles, give me a phileo love for this child, especially in the hardest moments.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Identifying Triggers

God's timing is always so amazing. I just posted on defining this Mommy love thing. Then tonight it was the root of a 24+ crazy cycle. I don't know about you guys, but I find it so hard to find the triggers. Sometimes I get "pretty" responses, but there seems to be something below the surface of the answers she has learned get reactions.

It went something like this. . . we were getting ready for bed and she was choosing very inappropriate behavior to communicate she felt the need to be in control. After getting her to a calmer place, we began talking about what was going on. She said it was because she was afraid at our friends' house for dinner. Tempting to believe, right? We were in a new place, maybe someone said something, etc? But then, so gently, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that she was having the same control battles at lunch today and dinner last night. So I pushed her to go deeper. . . honey, I don't think that is what is hurting your heart. You were having a hard time all time today and last night. Can you think hard and be brave and trust me with your heart? After a very long time and lots of redirecting, she said it was because she fell yesterday. (I knew about this and she seemed ok) She said she was really hurt and wanted me but didn't tell me how hurt she was.

We talked it out starting with how Mommy couldn't have known she was hurt because when little girls are hurt, they cry for their Mommies. Or they use their words to say how hurt they are. Then the Mommies hug and kiss their babies. Awe and shock from the RADling. She wants and doesn't want that simultaneously. Can you tell me what happened in the orphanage when you got hurt? I am so sorry that happened. That must have been scary. But I am not a nanny in an orphanage. I am a Mommy. Your Mommy. And we talked and talked about what that means and things the orphanage taught her and how she was treating me like an orphanage worker. Most importantly how things would be different.

She apologized for trying to be in control of the family and not using her words. After HOURS of pursuing her heart, from tantrums and yelling to playful snuggles and peace, she went to sleep with a huge smile and promise to let me be her Mommy tomorrow.

Long post short? Define love, define family, define Mommy. Try to find the triggers--the first trigger to the cycle. Pray, pray, pray.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Define Love

A few years after she came home...it became apparent to me that our Girlie needed to hear truth from us about her early life.

She was not connecting with the whole concept of a "Mommy." (Nor a "Daddy" / "Family" for that matter)

I remember our first transparent & authentic conversation about this "mommy" thing well. It was intimate. It was loving. It was very, very difficult...for her and for me.

In Girlie's mind...the orphanage workers whom she grew up with.... loved her.

In her mind...her birth mother loved her (red flag red flag red flag!!!!!!!!!!!!before you have a heart attack about the birth mother thing....hear me out.)

In her mind....we....her parents....loved her.

Yet to her, we were no different than the orphanage workers. No different than her birth mother.

It hit me then and there....very softly...like a whisper.

She thinks you are just like them.

She thinks they loved her..... but then they either left her or let her go. We say we love her....but what's stopping us from leaving her too or.... from letting her go?

Here's the words I spoke to her....very carefully. With lots of tenderness.

The orphanage workers might have cared for you...maybe they even loved you on some level...but not like a mommy loves you. If they were not paid to care for you....they would not have. They did not take you into their own homes. They did not try to keep you for themselves when we came to get you. Therefore, they did not love you like a mommy loves you.

Your birth mother....we do not know her...therefore we do not know her heart. What we do know...is that she cared enough about you to give you life. We do know that she cared enough about you to leave you in the care of a hospital the day you were born.

We also know that she did not come to the orphanage to inquire after you for 4.5 years. When ads were run in the local paper...telling the community of your pending adoption....she did not come. She might've loved you on some level...but she did not love you like a mommy loves you.

Mommies do not say, "I love you "....and watch as complete strangers take you away. Mommies scratch out the eye balls of strangers who try to take their kids away because we love you.

She let all the info sink in. I saw her little mind processing. Her wheels were turning. After a while she started to cry...heartbroken. Utterly heartbroken.

"So who loved me, then?"

"Jesus loved you, Honey. The whole time you were in the orphanage...those long 4.5 years...Jesus loved you and He never left you or gave you away.

Girlie was wounded. And angry. And sad.

This is so important parents...so listen......

If our children do not grieve their losses....they will be stunted. They cannot grow in a healthy manner without working through their grief.

We do not help them by ignoring their losses or by glossing over them. We help them by acknowledging and processing through their losses with them.

I went on....

"As soon as Mommy and Daddy knew about you....we started the paperwork the very next day and came to get you the minute we were allowed. We flew all the way across the world...just to get you. To bring you home. Our daughter."

Believe me when I say....it was as if a huge burden was lifted from my little girlie's shoulders that day.

Without being able to articulate it...she had been walking around with a warped idea of what love is.

In her world....love didn't mean much. So WHAT!?!?!?!?!?...you love me? Big flippin deal!

Parents.........define love.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What is a Mommy?

I talked a bit last year about the seemingly emptiness of the word Mommy as it rolls off a little RADtastics lips.  At times it feels like everything is so fake.  So I started asking my little darling the same question every couple of months:
What is a Mommy?
For a very, very, very long time the only answer I got was "gives me clothes" or "makes me food."
Now I don't discredit that answer completely.  (especially if your child was malnourished or worse--food could = love)  BUT it was clearly incomplete.  Your social history may be different, but for us, I was able to say, "Hmm, but the nannies in the orphanage gave you clothes to wear, right?" or "the nannies at the orphanage gave you food, right?"  "What does a Mommy do?"
Over time and hearing her siblings answers, she will now say "gives me snuggles, kisses me, helps me, teaches me, etc.  I don't know how much of it has really sunk in, but at least floating in her mind is the truth that there is something special about our relationship.... about having one of these Mommy-deals of your very own.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Talk it out

My kiddos came home around preschool age from an international orphanage.  All of them have vivid memories.  Some have more of them than others.  As they shared pieces of them, I was beginning to see that their memories, dreams and thoughts of that place were impacting our relationships at home.  We've had to have some very straightforward discussions.  I think what is most important in talking with these wounded children is truth. The beautiful and the fuzzy right along with the ugly.  The truth of what they've been through so that the Truth can be applied for healing.  Some awesome starters for your older kids:
Do you want to talk about (country/orphanage)?
What do you remember?
Do you have any questions?  I may not have the answers but I'd be happy to talk it out with you.

I am not good on the fly all of the time.  So I always have a few replies at the forefront of my mind before initiating a conversation.  (how did that make you feel?, that must have been scary, what did you do?  who else was there?  do you want to know more about that?  If I was there, I would have...., let me think about that and let's talk again later).

If they seem aloof or disinterested, just follow up with a:
Okay, if you ever want to talk about it, just know I am here.  Talking about (your birth country, birthmother or O) does not make mommy scared or sad.  I am your mommy and I care about what goes on in your heart!

I think very often there are big feelings just under the surface.  The anger is coming from somewhere.  They need to find a safe place in you.  A listening ear is a good place to start.

Praises & Prayers

"I am really excited to use the talent that God has given me. Please pray. I am a bit nervous because I am worried that I will mess the dance up. I am a bit stiff with the moves, please pray that I will loosen up. I know I have danced in Worship services, Veteran homes, Retirement homes, and Recitals before. This is a little bit more advanced, and I am struggling with pride, because I don't want to make a fool out of my self. What my goal is to do is focus on God through my dance."

The above is a blog post from Girlie, now 13.

She came home at 4 1/2. After settling in a bit....we thought it would be fun to expose her to dance lessons. Intimate setting...w/her sister and friends. Me present at all times.....worship songs...at church. Casual. Relaxed. Ideal.

Not so much.

It was a disaster. Utter power struggle from Day One. Week after week...month after month... she attempted to gain control by ripping holes in her tights...while maintaining eye contact w/me from across the room (at this point in time...I was not getting eye contact anywhere else.) I think she thought her ripped tights would embarrass me...causing me to rethink dance lessons.

Nope.



She was showing me that she needed dance lessons....for many, many reasons.

I just shrugged. No biggie. I've always had a thing for punk.

____________________________________

Tomorrow, she has a Worship Recital. If you think of it, please lift up praises & prayers on her behalf.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whoops!

I really like the Connected Child by Purvis. I feel like it is one of the few books that gives handles on how to address behavior. I love that it leans towards the heart of a situation and not just the action. She walks you through re-do's and how important it is for the child to do over the situation just as it was, only with the right choice. Often we tell a child what was wrong and the consequence they have chosen. Sometimes we tell them what they could have done better. Rarely do we make the entire scene over again. But our kiddos need the chance to practice and to be affirmed in the right choice.

In our house it goes something like this:
Child walks into room first thing in the morning whining loudly and pulling at her clothes
Mom stops behavior.
"Oops. That was inappropriate. When daughters come into their mommies' rooms in the morning, they say,(in happy tone) 'Good Morning Mommy.' Okay, Mommy will pretend to sleep. You try again and with respect."

Child may repeat varying levels of interaction 1/2 dozen times before she gets it right. Sometimes a little jumping on the minitramp will help get the blood flowing and strengthen her body to be ready to talk to Mommy in an honoring way. If she has been especially regulated/strong, I may throw in a hug or kiss into the script. I will do everything I can to set the scene up exactly as it was before the wrong choice was made. (I know more than one stranger-kid has thought I was outside of my mind for doing this)

It is totally exhausting--especially when that is how you are starting your day. Every day. But eventually it does work because they don't want to repeat their actions.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RADical Blessing

So here's a conclusion I've come to:

The Lord has most assuredly used/is using RAD to dig up and expose some yuckinesss in the hearts of me...my hubby...Girlie...Girlie's siblings...grandparents...family members... and friends.

He is in the business of digging up things so that they may be dealt w/right? Exposing darkness so that it might not stay hidden, right? Darkness tries to hide, right?

Oh boy......here goes.....are we anywhere near ready to say "thank you" for RAD because it is one of the instruments the Lord has used/is using to get our attention and draw us closer to Himself?

Wait....does that make it a blessing? RAD...a blessing?

I suppose we would have to define blessing. Consider what it means to be blessed.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2

Love Is A Verb

The Lord loves us exactly how we are...but too much to let us stay this way.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Worldview

What do you believe about the (click here)nature of man? About the nature of our kids? Of our kids struggling w/RAD?

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...are we fallen beings...inherently sinful?

or

Like Frankenstein...are we inherently good & victims of our circumstances?

Not on your typical RAD reading list....but maybe it should be?

I've lived w/and spoken with those living with RAD challenges for 9 years now....and have searched high and low for non-humanistic approaches to aid in the Biblical addressing of and resolution to this very real problem which exists in our imperfect world.

I don't claim to have all the answers...but I am confident that I'm on to something...when I say our worldviews do matter when dealing with RAD.

And please do not e-mail me about the title of the book. Our kids are not "monsters" in that sense of the word. Monsters.... as in fallen stinkin' wretched sinners like you and me.

Siblings/Multiples

I think pre-adoption it was so easy to put things in cute little adoption boxes. Boxes that made sense in my mind. Some might have even had label-maker produced labels and little polka dots or bows. They were the boxes that helped tackle an insurmountable problem. There are orphans. Social or true. They would be hurting. They need homes. They need forever families. They need someone in their corner. The numbers seem overwhelming but with my boxes, things could be better, right?
advocate for ministering to orphans
decrease obstacles for Christians to adopt
biblical worldview on multiethnic adoption
be open to older child adoption
keep siblings together
learn all you can about attachment
know yourself to know when you need support and ask for it
and on and on

You get the idea. I was and continue to be hopeful. But I am finding that though the boxes are still helpful, they really come with termite holes and dust and dents. The one with an especially large number of holes these days is the 'keeping siblings together.' I think I would still fight for it, but I am seeing how social workers come to the conclusion to separate sometimes. In the long run, if there is healing, how precious is it that your children can share their history and their future? But in the middle of healing, it is so hard. I am bringing it up tonight for any newbies out there. I know in the attachment books they talk about siblings sabotaging each other when things start to go well. It is so much more challenging than an anecdote or short chapter can reveal. To be the interpreter of loss for 2 or more kids from the same background is insanely hard.
One wants to talk about it, one doesn't.
One has happier memories, one doesn't.
One will claim no memory of a place because such fear erupts from the other talking about it.
One wants to ask questions in the car, one wants to talk privately before bed.
One wants simple answers to many questions
One needs every detail to a few intense questions.

One is raging because of the fear, one is afraid to talk if it looks like this

But because they are not on the same page--emotionally or physically, don't process the same ways, don't have exactly the same experiences, and are not processing things at the same time, I soon feel like I have multiple personalities! I want to comfort and cry with the one who is hurting. I want to talk openly and honestly with the one who is questioning, even if it's in the car with the other kids but I also want to be sensitive to the darting, shocked eyes of the other that clearly doesn't want to talk about this right now. I want to rejoice and affirm the memories and answer the happy questions of the one that isn't processing gunk at the moment. But I don't want to make the other feel like she can only talk about the happy parts of what they've been through.

In short, it is a mess. It fits better into a garbage bag flung over my shoulder than a cute Pottery Barn box! BUT, there is hope. Here are a few things we've been using to wade through our mess.

~we make statements during regulated times to prepare for the messy times like,
"You can always talk to mommy about your (birth country) or your (birth mother)."
"Sometimes your sister/brother will talk about (birth country). Because we are a family, you can say 'I don't want to talk about that right now.'"
"If you want to talk to Mommy about something scary, Mommy wants to talk privately about it so I can hear you carefully."
"I saw you were nervous when sister was talking about XX. Do you want to talk about any big feelings?"

We also discipline for telling your sibling "Don't tell Mommy." We also discipline now (instruction/redirection at the beginning) for asking a sibling to meet a need. (This includes hurting a sibling so they will cry and mommy will come instead of calling mom yourself).

It's not pretty. There is sabotage. There is manipulation. But there is also a connection that has spurred them on. I don't deny that. I am hopeful they will heal. It may just take longer than if they had come home as singles. If you are parenting siblings or multiple children from the same orphanage, you are chosen by God for a special task. Please let us know if you have any other tips to success, too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Gospel

Stay the course....even when you feel like throwing in the towel...do not. Consistent...firm....loving relationships. Truth in love. Always (click here)Truth.

Breakthroughs are possible. Healing is possible.

There is one (click here)Gospel. Only one Gospel. For every adult. For every child. No matter our histories. No matter our back stories...circumstances or road of trials.


Fear is a spiritual problem. Yes, the roots dig way down deep. The soil in which they grow can bring tears to the eyes and heartache to the soul...but at the end of the day...living in a constant state of fear (other than the fear of the Lord) is sin and must be rooted out. Self love is sin. Self hatred is sin. Manipulation is sin. Unrighteous anger is sin. Unforgivness is sin. The list goes on and on.

Now certainly our circumstances and upbringings differ. Some assist in healthy development and some do not. Alcoholic parents....hard road. Divorce....hard road. Poverty....hard road. Abandoned....hard road. Rejected....hard road. You get the point.

Even so...our roads do not take the Lord by surprise. He knits each of us together in our mother's wombs. He does it where and when He sees fit according to His purposes. The Bible tells us clearly that there is an enemy to our souls prowling around on a leash waiting to devour us and it also tells us that when we sin....we follow after the evil desires of our own hearts. The Lord has set the standard.

Medical ailments...emotional ailments...psychological ailments...behavioral ailments...societal ailments...physical ailments....addictions...compulsions....spiritual confusion....

...one Gospel.

We...who call ourselves Christ followers...are called to walk intimately with our Lord. Parents, we must walk with Him in a worthy manner....putting aside all hints of hypocrisy. We must offer our kids every opportunity possible to hear the Good News and understand clearly the dilemma unregenerated man finds himself in without it. Pray parents. Pray for the living Lord of the universe to interrupt lives.

There is a temptation for Christ following parents of kids struggling w/RAD...I think.... to somehow think that we...dad and mom...can somehow fill the empty spot. That our actions will make all the difference in their little worlds.

A difference...YES...absolutely.

All the difference...NO...not by a looooooooooooooooong shot!

Have we been trying to fill the hole only He can completely fill?

Have we been trying to make all the difference?

Have we become our own idols?

Have our kids become our idols?

Have we set ourselves up as idols in our kids eyes?

Maybe that's why we're exhausted/anxiety ridden/and depressed.

Maybe that's why our kids are exasperated.

And....dare I say...................afraid?

Keep up the hard work. Therapy...doctors...digging in deeper etc. You are doing a good job...but lest we forget...

....He does the heart healing and renews minds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adult RAD

Taken from radkid.org.


* Avoidant
o Unreasonable or inappropriate anger
o Hostile
o Overcritical of others and self
o Intolerant of rules and authority
o Lack of empathy or remorse
o Views others as untrustworthy and unreliable
o Shallow/Vain
o Feelings of self-importance
o Feelings of entitlement or arrogance
o Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others
o Views relationships as threatening, or not worth the effort
o May be a workaholic, as a way of avoiding relationships
o Feelings of being unique
o Grandiose or unrealistic fantasies
* Anxious/Ambivalent
o Compulsive caregiving
o Feels underappreciated
o Many short-term relationships
o Idealizes others
o Possessive; makes unrealistic demands of partners in relationships
o Preoccupied with relationships, and easily makes declarations of affection
o Obtains feelings of security through relationships
o Sees relationships as imbalanced
o Oversensitive to rejection, easily gives in to jealousy
o Sees others as being difficult to understand
o Unable to understand the concept of altruism
Extreme emotions
* May Also Include


o Prone to depression
o Socially inappropriate behavior
o Impulsive
o Manipulative
o Risk-taking
o Self-mutilating behavior
o Often do not remember much of childhood experiences
o Darkness behind the eyes when angered
o At risk of abusing their own children
o Children with RAD may become adults diagnosed with sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline disorder

We cease to grow when we cease either to labor or to suffer for the Lord. ~Charles Spurgeon

This wounded, draining, challenging child was chosen before the beginning of time to be in your home, at this time, for His great purpose. Press In, Beloved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dreams

I'm thinking again about a very real reality which may be a fact in many of our lives.

I know some of us out there are tempted to think that our kids have been dreaming of us since ages past...that we (their knight in shining armor parents) are their dreams come true. They have been waiting for us to sweep into their less than ideal situations and swoop them up into our loving embraces. Haven't they?

Not necessarily so.

Many have been dreaming of others. Dreaming other dreams. Dreams which might not have included us. GASP!!!!!!!!!!

Put it this way....

Once upon a time, there was a Princess who had deep down memories of a long lost Prince whom she had met during her youth. She thinks of him often...in fact, every minute of every day he enters some part of her existence consciously or unconsciously. He might be a blur...he might be crystal clear....but he is there....always there in her heart and in her dreams (good and bad.) One day...her Prince will come.

Out of the blue...another Prince extends his hand. He is kind, He is handsome. He means her well and has been waiting a long time to find his one and only true Princess.

The Princess is heartsick. Her dreams....suddenly they are confused. What is to become of her dreams? Do they simply disappear? Do they shift?

What a predicament the Princess finds herself in. A predicament thrust upon her. Not of her own choosing. If she showed no signs of trouble in releasing her previously held dreams...we...each one of us....would take a second glance and wonder at her peculiarity.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eyes Wide Open or um, shut

We went into adoption with our eyes open. We knew all we could about attachment. We had walked with others through their attachment challenges. We read everything we could. We went to classes. We read online. We were ready. Or were we? I don't know if you can ever really be ready. I think part of that is the Lord only equips you for today. He is not going to give you the direction and grace for tomorrow. Today has its own challenges. In the middle of today's trial, He is there.
A lot of my sorrow during this attachment walk has been what I could never had planned for. I knew, even if my kids were babies--which they weren't--their little hearts would be hurting. They would probably have gone through more in their little lives than most of us could ever even imagine. I expected heavy feelings, uncomfortable conversations and crazy behaviors from big hurts.

What I wasn't ready for was the rejection. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. I knew attachment/bonding could be uphill or slow or even awkward at first. But I wasn't ready for the pushing away. I knew they would be hurting, but I never could have imagined that my precious child would not allow me to be their interpreter of loss. It was something that really shocked me. Longing for a birthmother, or a birth place, or big tears over pain-yes. Not allowing me to wipe the tears and rub the backs-no.  It was subtle and flicked at what I guess I had hoped for.  I am secure in the Lord and wasn't looking for a child to meet my needs or desires as a mom.  It is this unarticulated desire to walk a deep valley while having some level of normalcy in our relationship.  It has yet to come.


It was a good realization, though. Because now I expect that there will be unexpected times that I wasn't ready for. I am choosing to allow Jesus to be my interpreter of loss. I am allowing Him to carry me through the unknowns. His grace will come for those moments when they arrive, and not a minute before.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Get them Rest

More than even the adults talked about here, our kiddos need a good night's sleep (need more than the adult 7 hours).  Although, obviously, the cave man stuff is ridiculous, I thought it was fascinating to see the correlation between sleep and the ability to process positive emotions. When you are standing with gentleness and a smile before your raging kid, could it be that they aren't even seeing it. It surely isn't that a good night's sleep will fix everything. But we want to make sure we are doing every thing we can to remove any physical challenges. Our kids must get the nutrition, supplements and sleep they need to set them up for the best situation possible. (watch the video, too. no texting/computers/tv for hours before bed).

Monday, June 15, 2009

More hope than ever before as our Girlie is saved this week. Oh, Lord....may true healing begin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He is the Vine

love love love love love love love love love love

love love love love love love love love love love

Friday, May 29, 2009

Respite-encore

We would still love to hear some respite input!! What works, what doesn't.  I also want to know if those who use respite can answer how well it works.  Until then, we can all use a good laugh.  My husband sent me this today in the middle of a horrible, RADtastic tantruming day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Playdate

Interested in an upcoming playdate in the AZ area? please email us!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tiny Weed Love

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Respite

Recently my husband and I were challenged in regards to respite.  Specifically, that we aren't taking any.   The Lord took time to be with God, to rest, to be alone.  He sets an example of ministering to those that don't understand true love.  But it doesn't seem possible.  I think it is one way I feel like I am parenting a child with a disability.  I feel like I have a medically fragile child.  Sure, from the outside she looks like every other kid.  But the reality is she is vulnerable.  It is just emotionally.  We are parents that need special training, can't leave just anyone with her, are the primary caretaker 24 hours a day without break, that fear the condition may never improve, seek new techniques that may help but aren't readily accepted in the medical world, that are concerned with harm--maybe it is not the respirator failing that could cause damage or death, but the harm they can do to themselves certainly could, that have kids that cannot do what other children do-physically, socially, emotionally, that may never hear the sincere words I love you.  It is hard work.  You need a break.


Aside from moments of emergency/crisis, I can count on one hand the time my husband and I have been out together alone in the last year.  The reasons are manifold.  One, is free, licensed respite does not exist for children that came home internationally.  Second, the trusted circle around us has its own life/issues/challenges.  This makes calling on them regularly impossible.  Third, and most importantly, it is not worth it.  I know that sounds crazy--well crazy to people not dealing with it.  To you, beloved, you are just nodding your heads, I am sure.  We are not a child-centered family.  In. any. way.  We value our marriage.  We know that working on our marriage is essential-for us and for them! But seriously.  It is not worth it.  Even just a couple of hours away with a trusted family member leads to backlash and punishment from the little RADish for days.  It is almost like I would rather have "normal" crazy every day than a little break with super crazy for the rest of the week.  

We have put the children to bed and then gone out.  But it isn't always the easiest or the most convenient for schedules or energy.  But it is one choice, though, when someone is available to watch them.  People have said the more often they are left, the more they get used to it.  But that really scares me.  What are they getting used to, stuffing, trying to do on their own??

I think this is one of the crucial parts of parenting an attachment kiddo.  You do need a break.  not just as a Mommy, but as a couple.  Let's share ideas!!  What's worked for your family?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ask

I've asked for compassion for my child and I have received it. I've asked for patience and He has provided it. I've asked for strength to carry me through and He has delivered it. I've asked for warm fuzzies and I've gotten them.

Ask Him to fill you up when you are depleted. When you have nothing left to offer. Ask Him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kids' Space


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kids' Space

I've had an idea floating around in my mind for a while now....and for some reason, I think the time might be right to articulate it here. Let's give our kids some space.

Kids who are struggling often feel alone....just like parents who are struggling tend to feel alone.

I'd like to create a space where kids who are struggling to attach or their siblings (RAD affects the entire family) can put their thoughts into words. A space where their images or artwork can be displayed. A space where they can safely express themselves and make attempts to be heard and understood. Anonymously.

Readers can send in their contributions. Please make sure you have your kid/s permission before posting.

All in an attempt to learn a little something from our children. All in an attempt to have our kids learn a little something from each other.

I think we should prepare our hearts for some beautiful and not so beautiful stuff.
Dawn

Thursday, April 30, 2009

WHAT??????? I CAN"T HEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you have a loud child? A child who's voice carries above all others? Always. Without fail.

Be louder. Shout in Target. Stop walking...stand still and shout, "WHAT???????!!!!!!! I'M SORRY.......HONEY, BUT YOU WERE SPEAKING SO LOUDLY I COULDN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!!! WOULD YOU KINDLY REPEAT THAT????!?!?!?!?!!!"

Eventually, your child will get the point and his/her voice will lower....falling into what's considered a socially appropriate range.

Of course....to do this you must not be concerned about silly things like embarrassment or sticking out like a sore thumb.

Some Construction Site Love

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Long Haul

One of the things that STINKS about living w/RAD is that oftentimes....our kids might be doing something that all the other kids in the house are able to do w/freedom...but because it's that child doing it ("normal behaviors").....it's a problem and it triggers something in us.

Is it the way they are doing it? Just a little bit more excited than the others? Just a little bit louder? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it the timing of when they are doing it? Holding court? Being the center of attention? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it that they are doing it after a wacko morning? Are we holding a grudge? Are we anticipating a wacko afternoon? Fearful?

Is it that we are afraid that they won't stop doing it after everyone else has? Experience tells us that most of the time they won't. Are we afraid? Hedging our bets?

After all these years...I'd like to say that there are most definitely things that other kids are able to do that kids struggling to attach are not able to do or should not be able to do. In my opinion, parents need to be highly intentional and hands on...especially when dealing w/RAD. Not all kids should be telling jokes to or doing ballet twirls for visiting extended family....(especially if they are refusing to make eye contact with you or resisting your authority in any way.) Not all kids should have pets (especially if there's weirdness w/animals.) Not all kids should hug well meaning adults they encounter (especially if they prefer every adult they encounter over you.) Not all kids should be left w/babysitters. Not all kids should have sleep-overs. Not all kids can be dropped off at the movies at a certain age. Not all kids can do church camps. The list goes on and on.

This can be hard for parents. When we are faced with a paradigm shift...

* the way we've parented before
* the way we are parenting the others
* the way we planned to parent

....all of our ideas/plans need to shift. This realization can bring fear and resentment into our lives.

In the very same breath, I'd like to caution parents as well. Sometimes...what appears to be RAD behavior or what we consider RAD behavior...... isn't . Sometimes, that child is just being perfectly "normal" and doing what all the other kids are doing. As parents dealing w/stuff, gunk, and baloney all day long every day in and every day out.....we tend to read into everything.

Also, kids struggling to attach.... grow and learn like the rest of us. Oftentimes they get to a place where they are able to do what everyone else is doing when everyone else is doing it. We did not allow Girlie to have sleep-overs as early as everyone else was doing it.....but she's had a BLAST w/friends when it was appropriate for her (select friends/families we know well and trust.) Girlie is able to be dropped off and picked up at lessons now....no problem. She has a healthy fear of strangers and will no longer be tempted to run off with them without ever looking back....therefore....she is able to explore the park w/in eyesight.

The bottom line...

Relax a little............ while staying on high alert :)

We are in this for the long haul.

We must pace ourselves.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Change of Seasons

The weather has changed here. Drastically and dramatically...also quite suddenly. Four days ago we needed sweatshirts. Today, we are fast approaching triple digits and things will stay that way for a while. This change entered our lives after recent episodes of wind gusts and chilliness. It will be followed by monsoons...more wind and rain...torrents of it...w/ lightening, thunder, and hail.


The rumor is that we don't have seasons here in this part of the country. But we do.

Today's heat and hot, hot desert sun got me to thinking about the seasons that come w/this RAD journey we travel. Good seasons....not so good seasons. Nightmare hellish seasons. Somewhat normal seasons. Rather strange seasons. Peaceful seasons and off the chart bizarre seasons. Close contact seasons and long distance seasons. Blaming seasons. Begging and pleading seasons. Cold shoulder seasons. Chip on our shoulder seasons. Forgiving seasons and unforgiving seasons. Panicked seasons. Remorseful seasons. Intimate seasons and get as far away from me as you can get seasons. Sad seasons. Mad seasons. Frustrated seasons. Teachable seasons. Stubborn dig our heels into the ground seasons. Regret filled seasons and humorous seasons. Thankful seasons. Fearful seasons. Lonely seasons. Apathetic seasons and full blown knock out drag down fighting to the death seasons. Submissive seasons. Healthy seasons. Loving seasons.
It seems we've experienced them all....at one point or another during our travels. I must remember that Girlie has experienced them too...every single one of them.

For us...seasons pass. Some get re-visited...some not. It's not something that I am proud of....to say that I do not always see clearly the lessons each season is bringing with it. But it is true. When we are in our seasons....whatever they might look like...we often cannot see the forest for the trees...never mind the wisdom and lessons we are supposed to be learning and passing on.

Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe it's time to look back and reflect on where you once were and where you are now? What has each season taught you? A journal is a fabulous idea. Moms, talking openly and transparently w/a trusted friend is another. She can remind you of growth you might be too distracted to notice or too weary to even get excited about (Obviously, this goes for Dads too.)

We are NOWHERE near where we once were. And during our current crazy seasons it helps me to realize that things change often around here and also...that we've come a long way, Baby.

I am re-starting Girlie on her journal tomorrow. I'm going to pick up mine as well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Supplemental Nursers

So we talk a lot about attachment disorder.  The repercussions to a child having a trauma or break in the attachment cycle.  But I know some of you may be here and you are still on your journey to adopt.  Maybe you are wondering what you can do to "hit the ground running" with your new little one.  Today, I want to talk a bit about adoption breast feeding.  I am by no means an expert, but just want to throw it out there if it isn't something you have considered.  Breast feeding is God's design to help develop a baby both emotionally and physically. If your child comes home through adoption, you may choose breast feeding as a way to build attachment.  There are ways to induce lactation and consulting your local Le Leche League may be a great starting point.  Sometimes, however, this is not possible.  Either enough milk does not come in or at all.  Then a supplemental nurser may be helpful.  There are two main brands.  
I have heard that people seem to prefer the Lactaid, but I know people that have used both.  
Check out these websites:

Also, something to keep in mind is that here in America, mothers tend to stop breast feeding at 6-12 months.  For our kiddos, it is the emotional connection/foundation we are most concerned with.  12 months may be extremely premature in stopping breast feeding for your child.  In many countries around the world breastfeeding up to 7 years of age is common.  Don't let society/social norms dictate what is best for you.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you in knowing what is best for your child and family.  Even if breast feeding your adoptive child is not right for your family, use the aspects of it to help build attachment (sucking/chewing, eye contact, skin to skin, rocking, etc).   

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Refiner's Fire

Years ago at a couple's retreat, a wife shared that her husband brought out the worst in her.  Initially, my internal response was startled.  It seemed like a harsh thing to say even in a safe place.  But then this dear woman went on to tell of how God had used her most intimate human relationship to most frequently be the fire in her life.  That intense, consistent fire that allows the gunk to come to the top of the gold.  To be skimmed, removed, rooted out.  Her husband was a gentle, strong man and their marriage was God-honoring--after years of therapy and diligence.  He was her great blessing.  


Several times, today alone, I have thought this child brings out the worst in me!  In the moment, I certainly was in my flesh and not thinking of the Lord's refining fire.  I was thinking, "until this child, I was a patient person," "until now, I felt calm and easy going," "until this child, I was doing okay."  It was pure frustration.  

But now in the quiet of the day, after regulation, repentance, prayer, calm and a sleeping child, I see that she does in fact bring out the worst.  The absolute very worst in me.  They are the hidden, dark things that the Lord still sees.  The fleshy worst that I was identifying earlier was the same, but now with different purpose.  His purpose.  His desire for the shining, radiant gold.  Through this child.  Oh, Lord, helps us to keep Your perspective and see these horrible parenting moments as opportunities to reflect Your glory.

Monday, March 23, 2009



the week was, well, survival mode. from hearts to house, all was a mess. in my overwhelmed moment, I looked down at the filthy floors, thinking they, too, would scream for my attention. Instead, a little love from the Lord. This little heart reminded me how He reaches into our chaos. Thank you, Lord. I needed this!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the last couple of weeks have been a horrid. Our little Radish has begun---or at least the Lord is revealing it now---to eat non-food items. According to Poison Control, in relatively small doses it's no big deal. (sigh). So, although my baby is not in immediate harm's way, she is in danger. And I can't keep her safe and she thinks she can get away with things like this. And best of all, in her eyes, I am now a liar. What I tell my kids is eating things that aren't food is dangerous. You will get very sick. Etc. I would never want my kids to be in the hospital or hurting! EVER! But, seriously, I am in shock. Who knew something this serious would have no natural consequence? ugh. Honestly, I am fearful of not being able to protect her from herself, that her behavior would hurt/influence her siblings and that she isn't getting better. And I am angry. Not righteously. Sinfully angry at the disruption to the family, at her for her choices, and at, well, maybe even the Lord for not making it all go away. It is not right, but I'll tell you because we want to be authentic with you.

So tonight, I feel ill equipped and as though I want to run as far away from her and the issues and the pain that I can't take away.

far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, away.

but when my heart quiets in the eye of the storm, I take my sin to His throne. I am thankful for repentance, forgiveness and His mercies that are new every morning. I am reminded, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." He does not give up on us, ever. No matter what. Even when we reject Him, or push Him away or sin against Him. No matter the consequences or the discipline He needs to give us. He always hopes and always pursues. Thank you, Lord, for so tangibly loving me in my own attachment disorder with You. I have so far to go, too. Teach me how to love this child, point her to You, and help heal her heart.

Deep sighs and sleep, for us both to wake to those mercies.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Humanism

The world would have us believe that our problems have roots in our circumstances.  The Bible teaches that we will always have less than ideal circumstances to deal with...but that our problem is a spiritual one...which stems from our sinful and fallen natures.  No matter our circumstances.....no matter how awful they are....there is hope......... and victory is possible.  There is one Gospel.  Only one.  


Do I see my problems through the filter of a Biblical worldview?....or has humanism seeped into my thinking?   

Maybe even a more challenging question:  

Do I see my child's problems through the filter of a Biblical worldview?.....or has humanism seeped into my thinking?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Press In

I once had a pastor who said to his staff, "You may quit 3 times this week. Then, it's a bad attitude!"Add Image


It was a light hearted reassurance that he knew their jobs were stressful and emotionally draining but also to hang in there, to stay the course and finish well.  

God has called you and will equip you for today.  Even if you quit today there is no judgment here. Tomorrow is a new day! 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Intentional Friendships

Parents, we must choose our kid's circle of friends wisely.  It is our responsibility to surround them with as many healthy relationships as possible...and see what blossoms. 


Teach your child to be a good friend.   

Work thru trouble to the best of your ability....but if trouble continues to follow....bow out gracefully.  

Sadly, some of our kids are attracted to that one in particular who will most likely not return their affection.

Focus their attention elsewhere.  




Thursday, February 26, 2009

Support Groups, too

YAY! Thank you, Dawn!  I know things had been quiet here for awhile.  I was sitting down to share some of the crazy in our world and was so happy to see Dawn had.  There is so much swirling in my head that I want to share and will soon.  But the support group was huge last weekend.  We know what it's like to feel alone. . . for many this once a month group is all they have.  If you are feeling alone, join a local yahoo adoption board.  Not everyone there will have attachment issues, but maybe the Lord will use you to start a local group.  Just put it out there... anyone struggling with attachment want to meet at the park?  


and remember, we are always here.... for those local and afar.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Support Group Circle

Okay....here are a few of the lessons I learned this week:


Support groups have MUCH value.
Faces are important.  So much is said in the eyes.
I don't have it as bad as some.
Those who have it really bad...need support and understanding.
Those who don't have it as bad.... need support and understanding.
There but for the grace of God go I.
Unholy judgement has no place in a RAD support circle.
There but for the grace of God go I.
The problem is large...bigger and broader...very large.
In general....school systems suck.

In general....advice from books suck....at least in the long run.
(this and that/tidbits here and there might work...switch it up when advice is obviously getting you and your kid/family nowhere...in other words....do not get your mind stuck in one theory/method.)

In general.....expect backlash.
In general....expect judgement.
Acknowledgement is necessary.
Shame is destructive.
There but for the grace of God go I.
Find one or two trustworthy intimates and ask for/accept help.
Attend as many support groups as possible.
You are not alone.
Your advancements encourage others...so share them.
We all have failures.
Never give up.
For those who do....in general....they have VERY good reasons and DO NOT judge them.